CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Texas State lawmakers have decided to kick annual vehicle inspection requirements to the curb, for some Texas drivers. Starting in 2025, it will be a thing of the past for most drivers.
There would still be 17 Texas counties which will require emissions inspections and still mandate annual tests, including: Brazoria, Collin, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, El Paso, Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Johnson, Kaufman, Montgomery, Parker, Rockwall, Tarrant, Travis and Williamson counties.
There are 22 million registered vehicles in the Lone Star state, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles.
Current rules require a vehicle to pass inspection before it can be registered. Following the Department of Public Safety's guidelines, state inspectors look for red flags, which could potentially cause a safety hazard if it's not addressed.
"We do all testing, brakes, lights, belts, seat belts, wipers, we make sure all of those are up-to-date mechanical wise," Iris Serrano, the office manager of Coastal Auto Tech's said. "And now if it isn't, we do inform them that it does not pass inspection."
Coastal Auto Tech does about 95 inspections per day. Serrano said most customers aren't aware of problems with their vehicle until an inspection finds it. She said the most concerning and common issue involves a driver's brakes.
"Of our 95 or so customers, 75 percent of those fail for brakes." she said. "And if you're not able to brake properly you can cause a major crash."
A Texas Tribute Report cited data which said defective cars were more than three times as likely to be involved in a crash that resulted in a fatality. That's why lawmakers who opposed the bill believe this change is dangerous.
Coastal Auto Tech customers, like Bobby Garza also agree.
"For a vehicle to be out there, it's gotta be 100 percent out there on the street. I mean you can't have a car falling apart and with all those accidents happening out there today and people getting killed, it should be inspected, that's what I think." he said.
Republican Rep. Cody Harris of Palestine and Sens. Mayes Middleton of Galveston and Bob Hall of Edgewood sponsored the bill to do away with annual vehicle inspections. Supporters say inspections were a waste of time or Texans and they believe people take measures to keep their cars or trucks safe on the road.
And while the vehicle inspections may be going away, but the $7.50 will remain. Drivers will pay the annual fee when they register their vehicles. The money will go toward the Texas Mobility Fund, the General Revenue Fund, and the Clean Air Account.